Thursday, September 13, 2007

Erwin Chemerinsky for Dean!

I was listening to Hugh Hewitt's great radio show on my way home last night and had the opportunity to hear him comment on the recent goings-on at the University of California-Irvine. Apparently UCI received permission to open a law school. Hewitt's blog has all the details.

I care for two reasons. (1) I used to live in Irvine; and (2) UCI hired my Con Law I professor, Erwin Chemerinsky, to be the dean. (For the record, Kathleen Sullivan, former dean of Stanford Law School, was my Con Law II prof.) But somehow politics apparently got in the way, and Erwin was sacked before even getting far off the ground.

All in all, I probably agree more with Mr. Hewitt on politics and legal issues than I do Erwin. And I agree with him here: this is a travesty. Put politics and world views aside. Dean Erwin Chemerinsky would have given immediate credit to UCI's law school, making it easy to attract first-rate legal scholars and attain prompt ABA accreditation. He is an excellent scholar and a prolific, high-profile commentator on constitutional law. He is much more fair and balanced in the classroom than he is while providing commentary. But just as important, he is as a teacher an accessible, friendly, outgoing, kind and generous person, almost to a fault. (OK, he had a rep as a tough grader thanks to our grading curve, but I don't care.) Any law school would be lucky to have this man as a dean. Period.

My take? UCI blew it, plain and simple. What a shame.

UPDATE 9/17/07: Looks like that over the weekend UCI did the right thing and re-offered the job, and Erwin accepted.